The first commitment of becoming an effective leader is to find your voice by clarifying your values. Finding your voice refers to developing your own leadership style by understanding who you are as a leader. You have to be self aware before you can effectively lead others. One method to better understand yourself is to ask for feedback. Receiving feedback from a peer can be invaluable to help understand who you are as a leader and co worker. Many times others see you different than you believe you portray yourself.
Having their feedback and constantly asking how you can improve will help clarify how others perceive you and how you can become a better leader. It is important for those you lead to understand what your values are. For that to happen, you also need to understand your own values. Several different methods can be used to help understand what your values are. Writing a tribute to yourself is one effective method. Imagining what you would want others to say about your leadership style will help develop a style you can be proud of. Recognizing other successful leaders and their values is also useful in developing your own values.
Along with knowing your values, it is valuable to frequently look back and reflect on those values. Spending 10% of your day in thought, simply reflecting on yourself as a leader is one method to help stay aligned with your values. Continuously auditing yourself as a leader to determine what techniques you have mastered and which ones you still need to learn and practice will help to continuously increase your success as a leader. From my recent experience, my peer’s perception of who I am does not align with my values and who I believe myself to be.
In future organizations, I will strive to clarify my values to myself and continuously ask for feedback to fuel my growth as a leader. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values Setting an example as a leader is crucial to portray those you lead what you expect from them. Once you have clarified your values and expressed them to your peers, it is important to constantly display your values with the actions you make. According to Kouzes and Posner, there are five values that are important to be conscious of; calendars, critical incidents, stories, language, and measurements.
Calendar is simply referring to how you spend your time. Almost everyone can recall a leader who abused the role and did not spend their time working but rather socializing and not setting a good example. It is important to make effective use of your time as a leader, and for those you are leading to see you setting this example. In the event of a critical incident, a leader should use it as an opportunity to teach a lesson. Educating others is extremely important as a leader and every mistake should be a lesson learned.
Using storytelling as a leadership method will help effectively deliver a message in a way that will be received positively by others. The language that is used is equally as important as the message being delivered. All of your words should be chosen with deliberate meaning. Measuring your progress or success of your group is important to keep them on task and focused on exceeding goals. A personal audit can be very effective to ensure that you are setting a good example as a leader. The concept of doing a personal audit would have proved valuable in a former organization.
I had a unique knowledge base and skill set in comparison to my colleagues, and some may have looked at me as a leader in that aspect. Sharing my knowledge and skills with co-workers would have benefited the organization and better aligned with the shared values of the organization. Lack of recognition and poor company structure turned into a poor environment for several of us. As a leader, keeping a positive attitude and attempting to improve work environment would have been a better game plan to lead my colleagues and set a positive example.
Instead, I was setting a poor example by following the negativity in the office rather than leading. A personal audit at the time would have identified this and put me and the organization on better paths. This example will help me stay conscious of my actions in similar situations in the future. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities Having a clear vision is crucial for leaders to focus the energy of those they are leading. Having the entire team seeing the same vision helps unify everyone with the organization to work towards the same goal.
Developing a vision can sometimes be a difficult task. The first thing you need to do is determine what it is you want to do. Asking yourself questions like “How do I want to be remembered? ” and “What does my ideal organization look like? ” will help clarify your vision. Another good technique would be to look at your past. It is important to know where you came from in order to develop where you want to go. Looking at your past is a great way to identify what your strengths are and what techniques to leverage, as well as what your weaknesses are and where you need to improve as an organization.
Once you’ve developed a vision in your mind, it helps to organize your thoughts by writing a vision statement for yourself and your organization. A great benefit of being forward looking or a “futurist” is to maintain stability during difficult times. In the event that your companies sales numbers are down and things seem to be declining, having a clear vision to stay focused on will help to power through the difficult time and continue working towards your vision. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations
Having a vision is very important as a leader but it does not become fully effective if you do not have a group to follow you and share your inspired vision. In order to understand what your peers may see for the future of the organization, it is important to get know those you work with. Working by their sides from time to time and encouraging a group lunch event can help build trust between coworkers. Being able to properly communicate with them is also crucial for understanding their vision and sharing yours.
Taking advantage of any opportunity to improve your communication is a good recipe for enlisting others to share your vision and increase your leadership skills. Once you’ve hung out with your peers and gotten to know them by listening, you can find a common ground and collectively develop a vision statement for the company. This will help everyone to feel like they are part of the team and their voice is being heard. I believe in the method of individually questioning everyone to ensure everyone participates in offering their own vision, then a group meeting to develop a common vision by extracting key ideas from the individuals.
This is a great method to ensure your shared vision is appealing to everyone within the organization. Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative, and looking outward for innovative ways to improve The fifth commitment in Kouzes and Posner’s leadership method is to challenge the process. Just because a process seems it is working, there may still be a way to improve the process and increase efficiency. Challenging the entire process can be a bit aggressive and potentially offend other leaders within the organization who may have developed the process.
When looking to improve and initiate change, it is effective to take small steps and develop a series of victories to prove value in your suggested changes. Changing processes in small doses and displaying success creates trust amongst your constitutes and increases their commitment to your vision. Making small adjustments also helps a process continuously evolve and unveil new ways to improve. It keeps people involved in the changing process and exposes who within the organization can complete which tasks. With change will come the opportunity to challenge employees with new and creative tasks.
This prevents the work environment from becoming monotonous and mundane, and gives others the chance to lead and show untapped skills they may posses. To come up with some new ideas and initiate change, you can enlist others to share your ideas. As well as looking internally, you can overview similar companies who may have a new approach which may be more effective. Looking at as many different options for ideas is a great way to develop innovative ideas. You can take bits and pieces from other companies and combine it with your internal process to develop something new.
When challenging the process, the key concept is to look at what the final result of what you are trying to accomplish. While some of the tasks within a process are crucial and required, many become a result of tradition and are not necessary. Questioning each step of the process is a good way to ensure that procedures are required and being done for good reason, and if there is a way they can be improved. Committing to these key concepts will ensure success within any leadership role and during challenging times within any organization.